Wednesday, December 23, 2009


With my excuses to that other Jew Irving Berlin

I’m dreaming of a white Christmas
Just like the one I never knew.
Where the rooftops shimmer
My eyes do glimmer
As I stare at the lovely view.

I’m dreaming of a white Christmas
Where I can stay in and bake all day.
Where Marty snuggles
And Jamie juggles
Mixing bowls and baking trays.

I’m dreaming of a white Christmas
With every blog post that I write.
Where the airports shut down
The town’s in lockdown
And we must eat by candlelight.

I’m dreaming of a white Christmas
While something simmers on the fire.
Goulash di-vine
He’ll pop some good wine
It’s all that one could so desire.

I’m dreaming of a white Christmas.
And I wish the same for all of you.
May the food be abundant and good!
Wishing all the very season’s best to you!

Crisp, cold weather outside, warm and toasty inside, wonderful aromas wafting from the kitchen, the wine chilling and the cake frosted. Home. This is the perfect winter evening to me. I really don’t need anything else. Oh, we’ve spent Decembers in Florida basking in the tropical warmth, eating oranges off the tree and driving around the neighborhood looking at the fantastic, gaudy array of Christmas decorations. We’ve spent a luxurious, pampered, romantic Christmas at a Palace hotel in the center of Paris overlooking the stunning, frosted fairytale white Tuileries, nibbling petits fours and sipping champagne. We’ve spent family Christmases on both sides filled with laughter and excited children, holiday specials on TV, tables laden with food and gifts. We’ve spent the holidays strolling through Italian street fairs and sharing the food, fun and singing with our adopted Italian family up at the farm. But after all these years, I still think home is the best.

I was in the mood for stew the other night, something rich and warming and flavorful. I loved the idea of a goulash, redolent of tomato and paprika (the sweet from Budapest, the smoky from New York) but craved lamb. And so wanted biscuits. So I put the whole thing together, and how simple it was! By the time JP walked in the door from a hard day’s work and a frosty trip home, the house was filled with the fabulous aroma of goulash, putting a smile on his work-worn face.

Sometimes we want something hearty and succulent, a bowl of goodness to warm our insides while outside it is cold and wintry, yet we just don’t have the time or the desire to spend standing in front of the worktop and stove, what with all the holiday shopping and baking, the piles of gifts to wrap and the cards to fill out and send. We pull on another pair of wooly socks and wrap another sweater around us and all we yearn for is a place on the sofa in front of the fire or an old black & white film, savoring something delicious, something good for both body and soul.

This wonderful Lamb Goulash takes only minutes to put together, then it is simply left simmering on the stovetop, filling your home with an amazing aroma and fairly cooking itself. You can even prepare this early in the day and just warm it up on the burner before finishing the dish in the oven. Whip up a batch of homemade biscuits, roll, cut and layer onto the goulash in a baking dish and bake until the biscuits are fluffy, risen and golden and the goulash is bubbling. A perfect wintertime meal!


Olive oil
3 – 4 medium onions, cut in half and thinly sliced
1 Tbs sugar
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 Tbs sweet Hungarian paprika
1 tsp smoky paprika
1 tsp fresh thyme leaves
1 bay leaf
3 Tbs or 2 small cans tomato paste
2 Tbs balsamic vinegar
4 cups (1 liter) chicken stock
2 ½ lbs (1.2 kg) boneless lamb shoulder
1 tsp salt
Freshly ground black pepper
2 carrots, trimmed, peeled and sliced into coins
Fresh parsley
6 ½ - 7 oz (200 – 300 g) white mushrooms, trimmed, cleaned and cut into chunks
1 - 2 Tbs 15 – 30 g) margarine or butter
7 oz (200 ml) heavy cream or Greek yogurt (Greek yogurt will add a wonderful tang)

2 cups (250 g) flour
4 tsps baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
½ cup finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
1 stick (115 g) unsalted butter, cubed
2/3 cups (165) cold milk, or as needed
Egg wash (1 egg beaten with 1 Tbs water), optional

Prepare the Goulash:

In a large pan or Dutch oven with lid, heat a couple of tablespoons of olive oil. Add the onions and the sugar and, stirring, sauté until the onions are caramelized. This will take several minutes. Once the onions are caramelized a deep golden brown, add the minced garlic and cook, stirring, for another minute.

Add the sweet and smoky paprikas, the thyme leaves and the bay leaf. Sauté an additional minute, stirring constantly.

Add the tomato paste and stir until everything is well blended. Add the balsamic vinegar, scraping up the brown bits of onion and tomato stuck to the bottom and deglaze. Add the chunks of lamb and the sliced carrots and toss to coat. Salt and pepper. Toss in a handful of freshly chopped flat-leaf parsley.

Add the chicken stock to cover. Bring to a boil, then lower to a simmer. Cover the pot and simmer for 1 hour 15 minutes.

Before this cooking time is up, sauté the chunks of mushroom in butter or margarine in a small saucepan until tender and golden on the edges. Add to the goulash at the end of the 1 hour 15 minutes then allow the goulash to continue to simmer for an additional 15 minutes. Remove from the heat.

Once the goulash is off the heat, stir in the cream or yogurt.

Prepare the biscuits:

Preheat the oven to 450°F (230°C).

Put the flour, baking powder, salt and sugar and chopped fresh parsley into a large mixing bowl. Add the cubes of butter and, using your fingertips, rub the butter into the flour until blended and the mixture resembles cornmeal or damp sand. Add the milk, a little at a time, mixing with a fork until the dough forms into a (just slightly sticky) ball.

Scrape the dough out onto a floured surface and, working quickly and with the balls of your hands (your palms will heat the mixture and the butter will get too sticky), smear the dough in an outward motion away from you in several movements until you have smeared all of the dough once - this will incorporate all of the butter into the dough. Scrape the dough back into a ball and knead very quickly just until the dough is blended, uniform and silky smooth. At this point you can wrap it in plastic wrap and put it into the fridge for several minutes if the dough is too sticky; this will make it easier to roll out.

Roll out the dough to a thickness of 3/8 – ½ inch (@ 1 cm) and cut out round of dough with a cookie or biscuit cutter. Brush the tops of the biscuits gently with egg wash if you like.

Pour the goulash into a large oven baking dish. Gently place the cut biscuits all over the surface of the goulash.

Place in the preheated oven and bake for 10 – 12 minutes or until biscuits are well risen and just starting to brown around the edges and the goulash is bubbling.

Serve hot.

This is a fabulous goulash and the biscuits are the perfect accompaniment and were a huge hit with the family. But if you like, go ahead and serve the goulash from the pot over fresh noodles or even boiled potatoes.


Chef E said...

Yum Jamie! I have a bottle of wine that would perfect with that dish!

Deeba PAB said...

Time for dinner here & my tummy is rumbling for some hearty warm delicious goulash jamie. Wonderful! Love the colours, the flavours & that beautiful ceramic bowl! Have a wonderful holiday season sistah...and yes, nothing like home!!
{Tanti baci bella}

Natashya Kitchen Puppies said...

Oh my, that does look like the perfect wintertime meal! I really need to remember to cook with lamb more often.
Except that, even as a food blogger, I keep accidentally typing lamp. ;-)

Sarah said...

I have never tried baking biscuits in goulash but how pretty and delicious it came out for you w/ the sprig of thyme. I want to try it

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

All the snow has melted here...

That goulash looks so good! Delicious and comforting!



Jeanne said...

Mmmm, goulash!! And even better when it's with biscuits. Such a heart-warming, belly-filling meal. Enjoy your cosy, snuggly holiday season at home!

La Table De Nana said...

It's all on the news your pretty snow.. your song/poem was so are right ...home is BEST..the markets in Italy sound like fun too though..maybe the day after? As well as the Paris apartment and champagne and petits fours.. those are the two I have not done at Christmas:)

The pictures and photos always fun.. love your Mijoter plat too..

Have a wonderful cozy at home Holiday..Thank you for all the posts I discovered this year of yours...always heartwarming.

diva said...

this is such a wonderful recipe and you're so very poetic! :) love it. makes me feel so Christmassy. x

Heavenly Housewife said...

Jamie, this looks terribly delicious. I am bookmarking this one.

Cathy said...

I always serve goulash over noodles but love the thought of a biscuit cooking in the delicious liquids in the pot. This is my kind of comfort food.

Happiest holiday wishes to you and your family.

Sarah, Maison Cupcake said...

I love your version of White Christmas, the words fit perfectly! This goulash sounds wonderful, I am definitely making something like that for Sunday lunch in the new year. I'm with you on staying home too, I'd rather do all the work feeding 12 people at home than go elsewhere. Happy Holidays!

Junglefrog said...

I love a good stew any day of the week almost! If it didn't have to cook so long I might have this so much more often! Our snow is slowly disappearing here; melting fast! I hope your lasts until after christmas!

Nithya Praveen said...

First time here u have a great blog....i loved the flavors n the cute ceramic bowl.Happy holidays!

theUngourmet said...

I loved your version of White Christmas. I agree, home is the nicest place to be. This goulash looks like the perfect meal for a snowy day!

Hope your holidays are warm and wonderful! :0)

Creative Life said...

This looks delicious and warm and inviting.

Chow and Chatter said...

looks great adore lamb, did Marty get the bones!

Sophie said...

What a divine , tasty & comfort food this is, Jamie!!

Just so perfect on these winter evenings!! Very festive too!

MMMMMMMMMMM,...Did you get my Christmas card yet???

Sippity Sup said...

so this is sort of a lamb goulash dumpling recipe for the very tasteful! GREG PS I nominated you for a Homie at The Kitchn so get over there and vote for yourself and your other fav blogs

Jenn said...

I could go for some goulash right now.

Happy Holiday!!!

Kitchen Butterfly said...

I feel like reaching out and grabbing the biscuit!!!!!!

Barbara Bakes said...

We are having the perfect weather for this hot delicious meal! Will you beam it over?

KennyT said...

Jamie, Merry Christmas!

catty said...

A perfect winter meal. Looks delicious Jamie! Merry Christmas xx

ivorypomegranate said...

I love any dish that somehow manages to combine warm biscuits upon completion. And this post is so beautifully written, it definitely has an air of classic nostalgia. Great job!

Nina's Recipes said...

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! XO

Daily Spud said...

What a fabulous bowl of winter comfort, Jamie. Hope the rest of your holiday season is just as warm and inviting.

Lien said...

A heartwarming dish, with the snow outside and my nose sniffing, this would be really good! Never made biscuits like that before, sounds really good.
Happy Christmas Jamie for you and your loved ones.

Baking Soda said...

A very merry Christmas to you Jamie, I would gladly join your vision of a White Christmas!

Sari said...

Oh what a lovely Jamie's White Christmas! :) I'll definitely give your goulash a go when I'm back in London after Christmas. Have a wonderful christmas holidays at home.

Elra said...

Merry Christmas and Happy new Year! Much joy and sweetness to you and your family Jaime!

Lamb goulash look super!

Katy ~ said...

Jamie, this is perfection. Stew and biscuits. What could be heartier or make a tummy happier. Fab!

Zach said...

Just made this with a cabernet sauvignon on the side, very very good! Thanks for the recipe.

Sharon said...

That looks just delish, so warming, comforting and filling on a cold balmy day. I just love food like that. It reminds me of what my mum used to cook for us.

asiangrrl said...

Jamie, I would marry you in a heartbeat for this dish. Yummy!


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